Best Diesel Fuel Additives: Improve Your Fuel Economy and Engine Performance
Maximize your fuel efficiency and save money with these top diesel fuel additives
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PUBLISHED ON April 29, 2019
There are many reasons why you should consider buying a diesel fuel additive for your vehicle. It could be that you're tired of the rising prices of diesel or just want to improve your engine performance. Whatever it is, we've got you covered with the best diesel fuel additive reviews and recommendations.
- Best OverallStanadyne Performance FormulaSummarySummaryAn all-season diesel fuel additive that can work in any diesel engine. The product is sold collectively in a case of 24 bottles.ProsProsIt can increase horsepower, improve fuel efficiency, and reduce smoke emission. It can also boost the cetane rating.ConsConsThe effects take longer to be noticed. The bottle is prone to leakage.
- Best ValueHowes Diesel TreatSummarySummaryAn anti-gel diesel fuel additive that lowers the cold filter plug by 20 degrees. The product is packaged in a 32-ounce bottle.ProsProsIt improves the cetane rating and overall performance of your engine. It can be mixed with all types of diesel fuel. Additionally, it contains anti-water removal and cold weather protection formula.ConsConsIt isn’t very effective when it comes to cleaning the fuel system.
- Honorable MentionLucas 10013 Fuel TreatmentSummarySummaryA diesel fuel additive that contains no solvent and can function as a fuel injector cleaner or a lubricant. The product can treat both diesel and gasoline engines.ProsProsIt enhances engine performance and increases the lifespan of your engine. It boosts the cetane rating and lowers the number of sulfur contaminants.ConsConsIt isn’t ideal for large trucks fitted with the extensive fuel system and multiple engine parts.
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Why Buy Diesel Fuel Additives?
- Save money. Diesel fuel additives work by reducing the vehicle’s fuel consumption and cost of repairs. Eventually, you will find yourself spending less money on fuel and other running costs of your vehicle.
- Improve engine performance. The diesel fuel additive works by improving the temperature and the velocity which the diesel burns. In turn, that helps the engine to perform better and increase the power capacity.
- Easier vehicle maintenance. The best diesel additives contain lubrication and corrosion inhibitors that not only reduce wear and tear but also prevent breakdown. This will enable you to drive for a longer period without maintenance checks.
- Drive during winter. Usually, the diesel in your fuel tank will start to crystallize when exposed to very low temperatures during winter. The worst case scenario is you won't be able to drive anywhere and even if you do, the waxy diesel will damage your engine parts. However, diesel fuel additive can act as an antidote and solve the problem.
- Reduce exhaust emissions. Since diesel fuel additive can improve engine performance and reduce fuel consumption, there is less carbon dioxide exhaust emission. Alternatively, diesel additives can cut off smoke emission by removing excessive gunk buildup.
Types of Diesel Fuel Additives
It’s quite normal for the quality of diesel to diminish over time after the refinement and storage process before consumption. It could be either oxidation or degradation that causes the diesel to lose its touch. Whatever it is, fuel stabilizers are purposely designed to maintain the quality of your diesel and prevent oxidation, degradation, or breakdown.
These types of diesel fuel additives are responsible for improving fuel combustion and reducing the ignition delay time. The higher the cetane boost, the better the diesel engine efficiency. Apart from improving the engine performance, cetane boosters cut off smoke emissions, deposits, and slow down the fuel consumption without compromising the quality.
Fuel Injector Detergents
Like every other organic substance, diesel can accumulate bacteria, molds, yields, or other deposits. However, fuel injector detergents can clean any wanted dirt that is blocking your vehicle's injector nozzle. Also, such detergents can also clean other engine parts that are exposed to diesel. Afterward, you can expect the acceleration and hard start to improve.
Even though the water found in diesel is useful for condensation and stabilizing fuel temperature, the dissolved salt can cause crystallization, which eventually leads to rust and corrosions. Nevertheless, corrosion inhibitors serve a purpose to intercept the crystallized salt and prevent rust or corrosion. Typically, corrosion inhibitors contain metal or alloy chemical compounds.
If you're living in extremely cold areas, the diesel fuel filter can get blocked due to accumulated wax or gel formation in the diesel. Anti-gel additives are made to prevent the viscous effect in diesel during cold weather and improve cold-starting performance. Additionally, anti-gel additives can also unblock diesel fuel filters.
Lucas Oil is one of the most popular automobile lubricants and fuel additives manufacturers in North America. The company, which was founded in 1989 and eventually grew to become a multi-million dollar company, is headquartered in California, United States. Its highest selling diesel fuel treatment product is the Lucas 10013 Fuel Treatment.
Founded more than a century ago in 1876, Stanadyne is a company with a long history of inventing groundbreaking products. At the moment, Stanadyne specializes in manufacturing gasoline and diesel fuel systems. Also, it's one of the leading brands of fuel additives. Its top-rated item is the Stanadyne Performance Formula.
After starting out in 1920 as a company that manufactures lubricants, Howes expanded to become one of the best diesel fuel additives brands. The company’s headquarters is in North Kingston, R.I. One of its most used fuel additives for diesel trucks is the Howes Diesel Treat.
- Under $20: There are a few diesel fuel additives formula sold under $20 which you shouldn’t underestimate, considering their reliability and efficiency.
- $20-$50: Most diesel fuel additives fall under this price range. In contrast to products sold under $20, most items in this category have a larger size.
- $50-$150: Diesel fuel treatment products in this price range are sold in double or multiple containers that would be cheaper if you buy combined rather than separately.
The best diesel fuel engine cleaner should contain no alcohol. The logic behind it is simple; alcohol can damage vital engine parts such as O-rings and seals. Not to mention, it can destabilize compression. Instead, it is better to choose diesel fuel additives with detergents which will unlikely cause any harm compared to alcohol solvent formula.
A top-quality diesel fuel additive product should reduce fuel emissions and comply with environmental regulations. That means that the chemicals used to manufacture the formula ought to minimize the effect on the environment. Always ensure that you read the label carefully and check out if the product is EPA-approved.
Before you buy diesel fuel additive, it's critical that you examine if it can remove water through dispersants or emulsifiers. Of course, diesel contains a small percentage of water properties, but if the water is not removed, it can cause a lot of trouble during winter, plus corrosion, and microbial contamination problems.
- Type of Diesel Fuel Additive: There is no all-in-one diesel additive formula available in the market. However, there are diesel treatment products with dual or multi-functionality. Before you make a purchase, it’s important to know what specific type of diesel fuel additive you prefer. For instance, if you’re into racing, it would make sense to search for the additive that is utilized for racing cars.
- Engine Compatibility: Just like how diesel fuel additives are designed for different functionality, there are additives that are only compatible with specific diesel engines. The best fuel additives for diesel trucks should be compatible with most types of diesel engines and fuel systems. Alternatively, there are fuel additives that can be used for general use.
- Treatment Convenience: Depending on the type of product, you can either top up after every refuel or every once in a while. Even though you’re unlikely to forget after every refueling interval, it can be costly in the long run. On the other hand, diesel fuel additives that only need to be used after a longer duration are cheaper but easier to forget the schedule. Regardless, you should choose whichever works out for you.
Best Diesel Fuel Additive Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: Stanadyne Performance Formula
At first glance, you will notice the Stanadyne Performance Formula has a long, thin bottle neck specially adapted to make it easier to pour the additive into the fuel tank. That means you don’t need a separate funnel to get the job done. It gets even better—this product can be used on any diesel engine. No wonder it is approved by popular diesel engine manufacturers such as Navistar, General Motors, Ford, and John Deere.
The product is sold in a case of 24 bottles, and each 8-ounce bottle can be blended with 30 gallons of fuel. Once it is introduced to the fuel system, it will work by improving the fuel economy, reduce smoke emission, increase the horsepower, and enhance the cetane rating. Beyond that, the diesel additive can be used for lubrication, and it can still function efficiently during all seasons.
Even though the Stanadyne Performance Formula is a high-quality diesel fuel additive, it tends to show results gradually rather than immediately. If you're driving a brand new car, it will take even longer to notice any changes compared to an older vehicle. Also, the bottle can leak after use if you don't seal it properly.
Best Value: Howes Diesel Treat
Looking for a diesel fuel additive to last you through winter? The Howes Diesel Treat is an anti-gel that can save your diesel engine during the harsh cold of winter. In fact, it can reduce your diesel cold filter plugging by 20 degrees. The 32-ounce product is enough to treat 150 gallons of diesel fuel.
The most outstanding feature of Howes Diesel Treat is its anti-water removal characteristics which prevent the water from freezing and blocking the fuel filters. Further, it can make your diesel engine run smoother due to improving the cetane rating and reducing the possibility of buildup on the fuel injectors. To top it off, it can blend with all types of diesel including low-sulfur and biodiesel.
This particular diesel fuel additive is an anti-gel but not a detergent. Hence, if you own an old vehicle, and you want to clean the fuel system, it is better you seek other alternatives. However, the Howes Diesel Treat is more of prevention rather than a cure in the sense that it can lower the probability of water solidifying and blocking the fuel injector.
Honorable Mention: Lucas 10013 Fuel Treatment
Lucas Oil is a household name among American car drivers, and the Lucas 10013 Fuel Treatment is proof of its reliability. The product can be used as either a lubricant or a cleaner for your fuel system. Additionally, the formula contains no solvent, and it can treat both diesel and gasoline engines.
When blended with diesel, it can neutralize the fuel to lower the sulfur levels and the exhaust emission. Next, it will lubricate and clean the fuel injector and carburetor, which is vital for better engine performance. Besides, it may help to extend the longevity of your engine parts. Quite exceptional, it can improve your cetane rates from five to nine, which makes it one of the best cetane boosters.
The biggest downside is that it isn't ideal for trucks with very big fuel tanks. Even though it contains a detergent formula, it could be a challenge to clean huge fuel systems with an overwhelming amount of moisture, sulfur, and carbon deposits.
Tips & Advice for Diesel Fuel Additives
- Always follow the prescribed dosage when adding diesel fuel additive. Keep in mind that if you add excess diesel additive treatment, you may cause poor filterability and even cause a blockage.
- Rather than mixing and blending additive with diesel fuel and adding the mixture into the tank, it would be easier and more convenient to inject the diesel fuel additive into the fuel tank when refilling.
- There are certain mixing and blending equipment that you can purchase to avoid insufficient mixing especially if you’re driving heavy trucks. For instance, you could use a fuel injector quill or a static mixer to improve the mixing chemistry.
- If you’re adding diesel fuel additive to prevent crystallization during winter, you must add the additive before the fuel is below cloud point. Otherwise, if you add the additive after the fuel crystalizes, it won’t do much to help the situation.
- For those who are living in regions where temperatures fluctuate rapidly, it is better to seek out additives with very dilute formula. Also, an all-season diesel treatment could be your best option.
Q: Does using diesel fuel additive make my brand new vehicle’s warranty invalid?
A: No. According to the USA Federal Warranty Act, a vehicle manufacturer is prohibited from invalidating a warranty just because you used a fuel additive.
Q: What is cetane rating on diesel fuel?
A: The cetane rating is a measurement used to determine the tendency of a specific batch of diesel to ignite or burn. Basically, if the cetane rating is improved, so will the overall engine performance.
Our top pick for the best diesel fuel additive is Stanadyne Performance Formula. The product can be used on any Diesel engine, and it can enhance the overall performance of your engine.
However, if you’re looking for a cheaper option, consider the Howes Diesel Treat.